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Antiviral Pills are Here to Stay

25 Jan

Antiviral Pills are Here to Stay 

The FDA has announced a potential game-changer to alleviate the hospitals from overcrowding due to COVID-19. The antiviral pills developed by both Pfizer and Merck are prescriptions pills to treat COVID-19. The Pfizer treatments reduce the risk of hospitalization and death by 89% if taken within the first three days of symptoms. 

The CDC director calls antiviral treatment drugs another tool in our toolbox to fight against COVID-19 and the variants to come. 

Pfizer's Antiviral Treatment 

Pfizer's CEO, Albert Bourla, stated in an interview with CNN that instead of 10 people going to the hospital, only one would go with the availability of the antiviral pill. Additionally, Bourla warns that the drug is not a vaccination. The virus is too easily spread to others, and vaccination is imperative to people's health. 

Bourla says, "Pfizer stands ready to begin delivery in the U.S. immediately to help get PAXLOVID into the hands of appropriate patients as quickly as possible." 

Pfizer's antiviral pill treatment is a 3-tablet dose taken as soon as symptoms begin. To be eligible for the 3-pill dosage, patients must meet the following requirements: 

  • Be considered high-risk 
  • Be 12 years or older 
  • Weigh at least 88 pounds 
  • Test positive for the virus. 

Merck's Antiviral Treatment 

Likewise, Merck has developed an antiviral pill treatment. Merck Antiviral must be taken within five days of contracting the virus and has the same requirements as the Pfizer version. However, it is only 30% effective. Senior VP of Merck, Dr. Eliav Barr, expressed his optimism for the treatment saying, "So we're very optimistic that the drug will continue to be effective against Omicron, and we're studying that right now." 

Researchers worldwide are designing new prescription treatment drugs that target the coronavirus at the molecular level. The key to the variants of COVID-19 is to stay one step ahead of the virus, continue safe practices, and not only immunize but also treat the virus. 


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